(Rourkela, India) The Redemptorists confreres and the parishioners of the Risen Christ Church, Kalunga belonging to the Diocese of Rourkela celebrated the Golden and Diamond Jubilee on the 20th October 2019 at Kalunga, Odisha. On this occasion, Rev. Bishop Kishor Kumar Kujur, Bishop of the Diocese of Rourkela, presided over the Holy Eucharist. More than 30 priests were concelebrants. The church premise was very colorful with decorations and more than 8000 faithful were present including religious brothers and sisters. Fr. Edward Joseph, Provincial Superior, and Frs. Ignace Dung Dung and Juventius Andrade, the provincial consultors were present for the celebrations.
The credit goes to the Redemptorist Confreres especially the Parish Priest Fr. Paul Tirkey, CSsR., Fr. Ernius Ekka, the Rector, the Catholic Sabha, Mahila Sangh and the youth Committee for the untiring dedicated service to make the Jubilee celebrations a successful one. The Jubilee celebration was also the occasion to renovate the Old Church which was built in 1951. The parishioners and well-wishers whole-heartedly donated for the cause.
Before the Jubilee Celebration, the faithful of different Sub-stations and villages were welcomed and received in the Church according to the tribal culture. People came with rice bags, and different food items to be used for cooking on the following day. They were welcomed with the prayer and blessing initiated by Fr. Sanjay Tirkey, CSsR., and were led through the main path to the Church with “Sailo” dances singing traditional hymns. Then their feet were washed according to the culture of the place and they unloaded their goods which they had carried on their head and stored in a room. After the refreshment, they went back to their villages.
The Jubilee celebration began with the Holy Mass at 7.30 am by Bishop Kishor. The villagers and the school children danced the entrance song. In his homily, Bp Kishor spoke about the meaning of Jubilee Year in the Bible and the challenges of the faithful people in today’s situation. He encouraged the people to continue to witness Christ in every stratum of life. He further exclaimed that the celebration was possible only because of the Priests, Religious and the people who worked really hard to build the people of God in this place. It is a record to notice that every year many people belonging to different religions have accepted Jesus in faith.
The Holy Eucharist ended at 11 am and then all were given snacks. Then followed the Cultural program presented by different village units and formation houses. During the Programme many former and present-day MLAs of the area and invited guests were present. The cultural programs were really a grand one with various welcome songs and cultural dances. The former parish priests of the Kalunga Parish were honored. The youth of the parish and the Novices and postulants of the Handmaids of Mary Congregation conducted the choir. Finally after the festive meal all returned their homes.
May God continue to bless the work of the Redemptorists to bring plentiful redemption amidst the poor and the abandoned.
Fr. Sanjay Tirkey, CSsR.